The Lakers are likely to keep their three players with nonguaranteed contracts, according to a person familiar with the situation.
Metta World Peace ($947,000 this season), Tarik Black ($845,000) and Marcelo Huertas ($525,000) will probably remain with the team beyond Thursday’s league-wide deadline to waive players with nonguaranteed deals.
World Peace, 36, had sat out 14 consecutive games before playing Tuesday against the Golden State Warriors. He was healthy during that stretch but wasn’t lighting up the box score, averaging 4.9 points and 2.6 rebounds before Tuesday’s game.
The Lakers like his veteran voice in the locker room, even amid the humbling season they’ve experienced.
Black has also been shelved often, getting extended play only during his many trips to the Lakers’ Development League affiliate. He was averaging 3.8 points and 3.5 rebounds before Tuesday.
Black’s stock has slipped since last season, when he averaged 7.2 points and 6.3 rebounds after the Lakers picked him up on waivers from Houston.
Coach Byron Scott wants to see better mid-range accuracy and an improved post game from Black.
“From a statistical standpoint, when he gets it in the post, he’s not very effective,” Scott said. “If he gets it where he can just go up and dunk it, obviously, he’s a pretty effective scorer.”
Coaches were excited about Huertas during exhibition season but he was slowed by hamstring injuries and hadn’t made an impact at the NBA level after several years as an effective player overseas.
Huertas, 32, was averaging 3.1 points and 2.7 assists before Tuesday.
The Lakers’ roster is at the maximum 15-player limit.
Reminder to D’Angelo Russell
D’Angelo Russell didn’t play Tuesday because of a sore throat, but Scott had some advice for the 19-year-old rookie.
Scott wants Russell to be “much more of a well-rounded basketball player, not thinking about scoring as much.”
“That’s the thing you have when you have guys that have one year of college and they’ve grown up in the AAU system. It’s all about scoring,” Scott said. “I’m just trying to teach all of those guys that it’s all about the team. [Russell] is learning. By no means is he a selfish player. But [I’m] just trying to get him to play the correct way and he has been doing that the last 10-15 games. I just want it to continue.”
Scott has criticized the Amateur Athletic Union a number of times this season while campaigning for better fundamentals from modern-day NBA players.